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Chapter 2: Reservations

Chapter Two is aimed directly at Christians who think argumentation is a bad thing; the ones that typically avoid debate and discussion for the sake of unity. Author Greg Koukl differentiates between arguing in the contemporary sense of the word (like squabbling, bickering, and quarreling)[1] and arguing in the philosophical sense. In the philosophical sense, an argument is when one offers good reasons in support of his conclusion. Koukl writes, “Arguing is a virtue because it helps us determine what is true and what is false.”[2] And one can make a good argument while remaining gracious and winsome.

He points his pen at the oft-used myth: You can’t argue anyone into the kingdom. He agrees with the statement, “as far as it goes. The problem is, it does not go far enough.”[3] He writes, “It doesn’t follow that if God’s Spirit plays a vital role [in someone’s accepting the truth of Christianity], then reason and persuasion play none.” We are to use all the tools at our disposal (including good arguments) while trusting in the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the one listening. “The same God who is the essence of love also gave the invitation, ‘Come now, and let us reason together.’ Therefore, both approaches honor him.”[4]

Once one grasps the need for reason and rationality in our discussions about God, the need to incorporate good argumentation seems obvious. It also frees us to seek a more modest goal (when appropriate): to put a stone in someone’s shoe; to give a person something that continues to poke at him in a good way.[5] Because Christianity is worth thinking about.

*Greg Koukl is Founder and President of Stand to Reason. Please do yourself a favor and buy his excellent book here!

Check back next week for Chapter 3: Getting in the Driver’s Seat – The Columbo Tactic

 

[1] Greg Koukl, Tactics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 30.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 35.

[4] Ibid, 36.

[5] Ibid, 38.